(While some people are overlooked)
The Straits-Times “Pets Corner” will now host goodbye obituaries by loving owners to their beloved pets.
This move was said to be motivated by wealthy Singapore’s rich population having less and less kids, the attention instead being devoted to pets.
This is just an extension of Singapore’s famous lavish doting on pets. This attention and loving care for pets resulted in the rise of industries catering to consumers wishing to give “premium” everything to their pets. Hence the rise in the popularity of premium pet food, premium pet accessories and premium pet fashion.
The obituaries carry premium prices too, each at about S$50 ($40.94) with an added 7 percent in goods and services tax.
Meanwhile, this pet doting boom in Singapore also led to the rise in migrant workers hired solely to take care of rich pets. Which, in a way, can be said to be also a boon for poorer countries.
When roles get reversed
But sometimes the love of animals can exceed compassion for people. Witness this comment from a Singaporean pet forum:
“I was riding my bike back home from office towards and before Great World City that stretch of road and I saw two beautiful Golden Retrievers crossing the road handled by a maid. This STUPID maid was pulling hard on the leash of one of the Retrievers, The dog refused to move on and the pull was hard.
“I really hope the owner of the dogs should handle the dogs personally. Maid [sic] cannot be trusted. I feel like putting a leash on the maid and give a hard pull and let her knows [sic] the feel of it.”
In fairness, other members of the forum chimed in to soothe the original thread poster, telling her golden retrievers are naturally stubborn so she shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
But then there’s no denying the spirit of the times, as shown in the tagline of one of the forum’s moderators:
“Children are for people who can’t have dogs - Anon”
Treating pets like people while people are treated like animals cannot be called progress. It is a form of poverty — of the spirit.
But all is not lost
Recent protests over Singapore Zoo’s newest Giant Panda Pair is a sign of Singapore’s growing animal rights advocacy community. With this kind of compassion at hand, there’s still a chance it would trickle down to Singapore’s sizable (roughly one out of three) migrant worker population.